A sexual offense charge involving children can impact your freedom, livelihood, relationships, reputation or even where you live for the rest of your life. It is important to remember legal boundaries and that technology such as the internet can begin a journey through the state’s criminal justice system.

Age of consent

The Missouri age of consent is an important element of many sexual offenses and is an important element of a criminal defense. In Missouri, the age of consent where a person is unable to consent to sexual activity is 17. But a person or depiction of a 17-year-old minor engaged in sexual activity is the crime of child pornography.

Cyberbullying

This crime involves the use of the internet or cell phone to transmit text, photograph, or other communications to commit deliberate, repetitious, and hostile behavior which is intended to commit harm. This crime is a class A misdemeanor which may be punishable by up to one year imprisonment if it is done to frighten, intimidate or distress another individual by with an anonymous call or any electronic communication or making repeated and unwanted communications to another person.

This crime may be a class-D felony if the defendant is 21 and the victim is under 17. This offense carries a sentence up to seven years imprisonment.

Child pornography

 Distribution of child pornography is punishable by five to 20 years imprisonment. Possession of child pornography has a sentence of up to 10 years imprisonment.

Child pornography is defined as visual depiction, including computer generated images, of a minor under 18 engaged in sexually explicit conduct. This is defined as graphic sexual intercourse of all forms or all forms of lewd sexual intercourse or graphic or lewd sexual bestiality, masturbation, sadomasochism, or simulated lewd display of genitals.

Sexual exploitation of a child

This offense, also known as enticement of a child, involves a person who persuades, induces, or entices a child to take part in sexually explicit conduct to produce a visual depiction of this conduct through interstate commerce. This crime is punishable by 15 to 30 years imprisonment.

Statutory rape and sodomy

Statutory rape occurs when a person has sexual intercourse with another person under 14 years old. This includes even the slightest penetration of the female organ by the male sexual organ.

Statutory sodomy is having deviate sexual intercourse with another person under 14. It involves any act involving another person’s genitals and the hand, mouth, tongue, or anus of another person. This act includes even the slightest penetration of the male or female sex organ or anus by a finger or object for arousing, gratifying the sexual desire of another purpose or to terrorize another person.

Child molestation

A person commits this offense by having sexual contact with someone else under age 14. This includes touching another person with their genitals or touching the other person’s genitals, anus, or female breast. Sexual touching also includes touching through their clothing for arousal or sexual gratification.

Conviction of a sex offense involving a child can life-devastating consequences. If you ever face this charge or investigation, you should immediately seek legal advice and representation.